SGA selected to administer HUD Community Compass initiative

Smart Growth America, in partnership with the National Association of Latino Community Asset Builders (NALCAB), was selected to administer technical assistance as part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s Community Compass program. In the coming months, SGA will work to support three communities in assessing their zoning constraints to delivering affordable housing. The project will culminate with a Zoning Toolkit which will be freely available.

From the US Capitol to town halls and mainstreets around the country, discussions are taking place to identify the causes of the housing supply and affordability crises and to determine what can be done to meet the outsized demand. As such, zoning is increasingly pointed to as the major culprit and barrier to the delivery of affordable housing. As a result, the Federal Government is taking steps to address this barrier via the Housing Supply Action Plan through which the Biden Administration is supporting communities to eliminate zoning that prevents the production of affordable housing.

Additionally, SGA and NALCAB have been contracted through HUD’s Community Compass program to research the barriers that zoning creates to allow for affordable housing as well as to identify best practices in zoning that allow for affordable housing to be built in communities across the country.

HUD’s Community Compass initiative funds technical assistance (TA) and capacity building activities for HUD’s customers, including grantees, public housing authorities, and tribes. Community Compass helps HUD’s customers navigate complex housing and community development challenges by equipping them with the knowledge, skills, tools, capacity, and systems to implement HUD programs and policies successfully. The goal of Community Compass is to empower communities so that successful program implementation is sustained over the long term.”

In addition to the general research on zoning, SGA and NALCAB will support three communities to identify zoning barriers to delivering affordable housing, make recommendations to support affordable housing, and provide customized technical assistance to support the communities to address their zoning constraints.

The three communities include Austin, IN, Bellevue, WA, and New Bedford, MA. To kick off our work in these communities, this summer and fall the SGA team will visit each of the communities to assess their unique needs and opportunities. Using the site visit and our background research, the SGA team will also document our findings and recommended next steps, and other direct technical assistance to assist with implementation.

To culminate this project SGA and NALCAB will produce a National Guidebook which will include our learnings from the technical assistance work in the partner communities, as well as to share zoning solutions and best practices. Our goal is to create a guidebook that can be put to use by communities of all sizes and situations across the country.

Land Use and Development Technical assistance Zoning